Spring is always a great time of year because we have numerous prospective students visiting campus and we have a number of students getting ready to exit campus with degree in hand. Most of those graduating students have lined up jobs, but I am sure there are a number that are still looking or weighing options. Naturally, I would expect to see those students at tomorrow’s (Thursday, March 29) Career Fair. However, I urge ALL of our students to attend!
Generally, our Fair attracts about 200 companies to campus with recruiters eager to speak with students about career opportunities. A majority of these companies come to meet Engineering majors. What students need to realize is that a Career Fair can do much more than provide a job lead. Rather, attending can help answer a number of useful questions, regardless of your year in school, such as:
- Does my favorite company hire my major? (Analogous to “Which major(s) does my favorite company hire?”) It has been my experience that students often struggle with declaring a major, because they do not necessarily understand the differences between the different engineering degrees. However, today’s students do seem quite able to name their favorite employers – often listing SpaceX, Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Amazon, Google, J&J, etc., to name a few. Therefore, it is only natural that attending the Career Fair can provide answers to those questions.
- What do graduates with my major do for a living? The benefit of walking around the Career Fair is that every booth housing a company or agency has a poster declaring the majors that they are hiring and level (i.e., full-time, intern, and/or co-op). So, by walking around and just reading, one can easily identify companies hiring their major – and then ask those recruiters about specific job functions. One does not need to be looking for a job to ask those questions.
- What do you look for in a new hire? Graduation is the worst time to learn that your dream employer only hires students that have had previous internship or co-op experience with the company. If you have a dream company – or a list of companies of interest – talk to them early (Freshman year!) and learn what is important to them. It could be something straightforward, such as a minimum GPA, or it could very well be something outside of your major – community service, leadership in a certain society, etc. This is not something you want to learn about when it is too late!
I realize that it is hard for students to envision a post-graduation life. But it is important for students to realize that this will be the easiest and most convenient opportunity in life to network and meet multiple employers at one time and in one place. Future jobs will not be found at Career Fairs, but rather through networking. So take advantage of the opportunity, and get to the Career Fair!